Holiday air-bridge lift-off: France, Germany and Italy are on list of quarantine-free destinations

Air bridges allowing tourists to travel to France, Italy and other countries were confirmed late yesterday evening.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will today set out exemptions from a number of countries from its ‘all but essential’ travel guidance from July 4.

However the measures exempting travellers from quarantine will not be in effect until July 10.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, pictured, will announce a list of countries that English people can fly to on July 10 and never have to go into quarantine upon their return

Airlines and travel companies have been calling for the government to allow them to try and save part of the 2020 summer holiday season

Airlines and travel agents have been calling for the us government to allow them to decide to try and save yourself part of the 2020 summer holiday season

The majority of passengers will still have to provide contact details when they get to England.

Those who’ve been through countries still on the quarantine list before 14 days will still have to self-isolate for two weeks.

The changes will undoubtedly be announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today following a risk assessment by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, in close consultation with Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer.

However, the Government said it ‘expects’ that countries on the list will reciprocate, but provided no guarantee of this.

The list will undoubtedly be published today and will be kept under review in the event of spikes of the condition in other countries.

The FCO has updated its travel advice in order that certain destinations that pose a low risk are no further on its list banning ‘all but essential travel’ to them.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘Today marks the next thing in vigilantly reopening our great nation. Whether you are a holidaymaker willing to travel abroad or a business eager to open your doors again, this really is good news for British people and very good news for British businesses.

‘The entire nation did tirelessly to get at this stage, therefore safety must remain our watch word and we will maybe not hesitate to maneuver quickly to safeguard ourselves if infection rates rise in countries we are reconnecting with.’ The late announcement came after a day of shambles, the list of nations to which travel will undoubtedly be allowed from Monday without Britons being forced to quarantine here on their return was repeatedly chopped and changed.

Greece is considered to have fallen off it last night despite previous pledges it would be included.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also refused to sign up to the plan, meaning the lifting of quarantine measures will apply simply to English ports and airports.

The decision to press ahead without the rest of the united kingdom raises the chance that Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon could continue on her threat to impose quarantines on people arriving from England.

And yesterday evening it emerged that just three individuals have been fined since the controversial quarantine policy – blamed for crippling hopes of a tourism revival – was earned last month.

Ministers agreed a brand new ‘traffic light’ system a week ago that would pave the way for the creation of alleged ‘international travel corridors’ built to allow travellers to visit certain countries come july 1st without the need to quarantine at either end.

Ministers had originally planned to negotiate bilateral ‘air bridges’ with a small number of countries. Under pressure from the travel industry and fears of legal action, this was then widened to a larger group of very nearly 80 destinations.

At one point yesterday, ministers were willing to lift quarantine against countries deemed safe even if they certainly were imposing quarantine on UK arrivals.

But amid frantic wrangling, they decided this would be politically untenable. The chaos sparked a blame game between London and Edinburgh, with Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg accusing Miss Sturgeon of acting like Donald Trump attempting to ‘build a wall’ after she refused to exclude 14-day quarantines on arrivals from England.

Ministers have spent days attempting to agree a UK-wide approach. Privately they accuse Miss Sturgeon of playing politics with the problem in order to fuel nationalist sentiment north of the border.

But a Scottish government source said ministers at Westminster had changed the policy three times in 24 hours, making it impossible for them to subscribe. Scotland’s justice secretary Humza Yousaf said the number of countries proposed by the united kingdom Government had jumped from 42 to 73 throughout Wednesday.

He said the original list had 15 countries with a ‘green’ risk rating and 27 with an ‘amber’ rating – but 30 minutes ahead of the 6pm meeting they were shown a list of 40 green and 33 amber nations.

The row came as travel agents started abandoning plans to sell holidays this summer because of the uncertainty around air bridges.

Lee Hunt, 42, owner of Deben Travel in Woodbridge, Suffolk, said: ‘If clients are paying, we need to guarantee them they are getting everything they pay for. We can’t do that at the moment.’ Chris Scoble, 54, of Go Scoble in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, said: ‘I think we’ve been put right at the rear of the queue, despite being this type of large part of this country’s economy.’

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